The final entry in our competition is from Paul about The Jaffa Hotel in Tel Aviv. If you enjoyed it, let us know in the comments below. We do not encourage criticism of reader reviews. They are not professional writers, and every writer has a different style that won’t suit everyone’s taste.
We needed a hotel for one night to help our daughter-in-law out who was coming to Jaffa with her mother and our eight month old granddaughter for a friend’s wedding taking place in Jaffa. We considered two hotels, which was this one or the Settai, however the Settai had a seven-day cancellation policy which was inconvenient with the current last-minute flight cancellation issues, so this pointed us to the Jaffa Luxury Collection hotel which is part of Marriott. In addition, the Jaffa hotel is one of seven hotels in Tel Aviv which can be booked through a “Virtuoso” agent which should give the following benefits:
- Early check-in (if available) – received at 12.00
- Late check-out (if available) – received until 14.00
- Room upgrade – I received a downgrade (see below).
- $100 to spend on food and beverages – I had to remind them at check-out as the final bill had not been adjusted with this allowance.
- Free WiFi – However, everyone gets this. It is open and free, so someone passing in the street can use it.
- To be treated like a VIP
- A surprise in the room
The hotel and check-in
The first impression is that the hotel looks very nice and the staff are trying to do their best to please. However, this initial impression turned to disappointment when I was offered a glass of water while I waited for the room to be prepared, only to see other guests in a similar situation being offered a glass of ‘champagne’ while they waited too. I asked, why I and my wife were not offered too, and was then told that they would give me, if I wanted (I wonder if it is the guests from USA that are offered the ‘champagne’ but not guests from other countries-it seemed that way).
Anyway, I then noted that the ‘champagne’ being offered was actually cheap sparkling wine (cava) in a ‘champagne’ look-a-like bottle (Iberica Brut) available in the local supermarket chain at about US$ 9.00 (nine dollars). A similar bottle was waiting in the room as part of the ‘surprise’. However, despite it being cheap, and not champagne, it was nice.
Once checked in, we went to the room via the lifts. The lighting in the lifts is very low (by design), and I guess was done so to give a romantic feeling, however, the effect on us (and other guests I talked to), was that the lift may be broken and gives a feeling of claustrophobia and depression coming from the well-lit entrance and lobby area.
Once we got to the room and entered, it seemed very light, modern and airy but a bit small for two people to move around in simultaneously. It was at that point we noticed that the door did not close completely unless pushed shut with some force. This raises the risk of the door not closing properly and locking when you leave the room unless one pulls it shut, and I noticed this on the door of another room, where the door had not closed properly too. This represents both a security and a fire risk.
Talking of fire risks, there was a fire escape plan on the door, with our room shaded in red, and from this, you can see we were given the smallest room on the floor. I asked the cleaners to see another room and it was bigger than ours and comfortable for two. So our upgrade from the room type booked ended up being the smallest room in the room type booked – which is really a downgrade.
Starting in the bathroom, there was the array of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion which looked and felt of high quality. The toilet was in a separate room connected to the bathroom through a door (which was substantial but heavy to open/close). There was a drawer with additional amenities which included a vanity kit, high class sewing kit, a comb, toothbrush set, shaving set, loofah and mouth rinse.
At this stage, the bathroom seemed excellent. However, the issues came when wanting to take a shower and hanging up the towels and robe (the robe was supplied in the clothes cupboard in the bedroom). The only place supplied to hang them up to dry was in the side of the shower enclosure-a very damp place! This is a strange design.
In addition, the hot and cold water was adjusted by two separate taps, so that the shower control was not temperature stabilised, making it difficult to get the correct temperature, and if someone down the corridor uses their shower at the same time, there is a sudden change in water temperature during the shower. Surely a luxury hotel should have thermostatically stabilised shower controls?
In the room, we had cake served next to the ‘champagne’ without being covered meaning that the waiter could have breathed on it while delivering to the room and insects can have wandered over it before we got to eat it. We complained about this unhygienic aspect and then had a new cake delivered in a plastic takeaway box.
In the main room, we found that the design with the TV hidden in the mirror made it impossible to see the TV if the blinds are open due to the outside light, and hence the TV could only be viewed with the blinds closed. The room acoustics or the TV system made it impossible to hear films clearly, although most films were provided complimentary.
We found that it was impossible to have fresh air in the room with the blinds closed. It was impossible to close blinds if the window is slightly open for fresh air, meaning at night you really on recirculated stale air from the air conditioning-which again is not very healthy. This is due to an electronic interlocking system and there is nothing the guest can do short of breaking a window!!! By the way, the soundproofing with windows and patio door closed was poor despite the double glazing and noise from the street, and cars could be heard 24/7. (At least from our room)
One thing missing from the room is an iron and ironing board, although the hotel offers to complimentary press two garments per stay (without an iron and iron board, this should really be per day, not per stay and per person, not per room).
The balcony had two chairs and a table and overlooked a church, and from the side you could see the sea. Unfortunately, the balcony had not been cleaned, and the balcony, chair and table had bird dropping, so one could admire the view standing but could not sit there.
In the room was a coffee-making machine which worked well, and the coffee was really delicious, and the desk behind the bed (which was also the sideboard with the coffee and food gifts had an adequate power supply range and two USB ports. Both sides of the bed had a USB, and the bed was comfortable.
Staff themselves were nice. The spa was nice with a steam and sauna just how I like them, but the showers had the same issue of two separate hot and cold taps as described in the room. Pool is nice too. However, for a luxury hotel, I expect chips (French fries) at the poolside to be freshly cut and not cooked from a bag of frozen chips bought in the local supermarket (I saw them cooking it from the bag).
On the surface, it seems a very luxurious hotel as advertised but with these fundamental issues to be fixed.
As mentioned, the booking rate included a $100 credit to be spent on food and beverages. At checkout, they forgot to mention this, and I had to remind them before it was deducted.
The hotel has potential to be world-class, but the rooms seem to have been designed by someone who seems not to have actually spent time sleeping in hotel rooms!!!!
A cut down version of the above was submitted to Marriot and I received the following reply:
Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience while staying with us, and also telling me about your experience upon your departure.
Providing the highest level of hospitality is our number one priority and I sincerely apologize for failing to meet your expectations. I have shared your feedback with the leadership team to ensure the necessary guidelines are in place and reviewed to prevent from occurring in the future.
I hope you choose to stay with us again when your travels bring you back to the area. We will ensure you are placed in a larger room so you can enjoy everything more.
I hope you have a good upcoming weekend.)